Dead Air 98.3 FM

There are multiple ways to listen at

Somehow I missed this one last year. Maybe this is the first year he’s been listed in Shoutcast. Last year was lazy – I didn’t do in-depth research, mainly stuck to searching Shoutcast, Live365, etc.. 

This station is the project of one man – namely Clay Roe. 

He plays pretty much everything all the other stations listed in my Halloween Internet Radio post play, combined. (I will use a few terms in this post that assume you’ve read that post.) Old, new, novelty, sound clips. No longer stuff, though – he keeps it all pretty standard radio length. 

And, though he plays all the categories the other stations specialize in, he plays much better selections and more variety within those categories than I’ve heard anywhere else. And, I’ve heard him play stuff I’ve only ever heard on Dr. Demento but not any online station. 

This guy clearly knows music. Even what, at first glance, seem to be keyword songs aren’t the usual songs you hear everywhere else and were obviously chosen for content or mood/style, not just a keyword in a title. He also plays very fitting-for-the-season selections from well known musicians that I had never heard. And I love the non-English songs sprinkled in – that’s a great touch. 

Yes, he leans toward older songs. Oldies, vintage, whatever, but at least it’s not the same old stuff.

But, I’ve also heard plenty of Midnight Syndicate, The Creepshow and HorrorPops, a lot of the various incarnations of Oingo Boingo, a lot of Zombina and the Skeletones, and other modern acts. Also, there’s a few remixes and mashups I can’t help but wonder if he did himself.

And I’ve heard dozens – maybe hundreds – of songs I’ve never heard before, as well as every one of my all time favorites I look forward to every year, plus special surprise treasures I’ve never heard on any other station, like the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” from Dead Space, “Put the (Bleeping) Lotion in the Basket”, and the old “Tearing the Heart out of Saturday Night” Joe Bob Briggs MonsterVision promo.

I could keep describing, but, I’ll quote what he said for himself in an interview I found from 2015 on…. 

“More than 2,000 Halloween tracks currently in the library…more than 1,000 in active rotation at any given time. And hundreds of “others”, as I call them: sound collages I create, TV and movie clips, trailers, educational films cuts, anything non-musical, but Halloween-related. My goal was always to make the stream listenable for long periods of time…without any repeats and always changing.”

The whole interview is worth reading. 

And no commercials! 

Well, except for a couple vintage TV ads for horror-themed toys I’ve heard. 

I do want to comment on how awesome his non-music stuff is. I love the old movie radio spots, and he plays carefully selected clips from Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House album – a Halloween favorite of mine since childhood. There’s even clips from old Arch Oboler radio thrillers and from Peoria Plague – a radio drama from the early 70s. (I doubt most would even recognize it, but I’m into audio theater.) 

My first day listening, I heard clips from some old radio Halloween special that were spread out between songs so there was a continuity further confirming that this isn’t just a huge playlist played on shuffle. One day, he played clips from The Shining throughout the day. As well as what I think was The Ghost and Mr. Chicken – an old Don Knotts movie. A couple weeks later, I started hearing a lot of clips from What We Do in the Shadows. 

And then there was that chilling 911 call he played. 

The entire lineup – music and non-music – is just so beautifully crafted. It’s all these human touches that is my favorite feature of this station. It is a completely different experience from every other station listed here.

Bottom line – this an Internet radio station in the truest sense. What Internet radio CAN be but usually isn’t. A human curator, editor, organizer, presenter. You can almost see him through these selections – hunkered in a closet (yes, really – read the interview), playing a track, which reminds him of another track, which he then adds to the rotation and bookends with related clips. Seemingly always there at the controls, huge library he has an intimate knowledge of at his fingertips, continually tweaking and queuing up just the perfect playlist. 

Like some undead George Gimarc.

Let’s see… Something negative to say… Hmm… 

Well, not all his source materials are of top quality. And I don’t mean because they’re old – I’ve heard plenty of these songs, old and new, that sound great on other stations. (His Voltaire tracks sound terrible, for example.) However, the tracks are at fairly uniform volume and that counts for a lot – it’s not the case with a lot of stations. 

And, depending on what you’re looking for, Dead Air isn’t as one-size-fits-all as Some of the punk, truly old stuff, and the truly bizarre would probably cause certain people to tune out. He himself says this station is for long listening. So, no, you can’t count on popular, well-known songs if you only listen a couple hours. 

If you’re having a Halloween party, put on and within a short time, a party starter like Monster Mash will come on. Before the party is over, your half drunk guests will get to repeatedly shout “GHOSTBUSTERS!!”. And everyone will hear songs they know in between. If you want to listen all month and not hear the same standard songs too many times, like me, go for Dead Air. You’ll get a fascinating and fun journey through the history of Halloween kinda’ music and all the non-music stuff thrown in. 

Anyway, A+, five stars, two thumbs up, etc.. I’ve been as excited about this station as I am once I’ve decorated the house for Halloween. It’s great audio decoration. I have listened to this station nearly non-stop all month. Even sitting in bed on my headphones and via my wife’s Bluetooth speaker in the shower that I barely ever used before. No podcasts, no other stations and that is unheard of for me – usually I have a huge list of Halloween stuff I’m listening to all month.

If he makes a Christmas station, I’m pretty sure I’d be torn away from my annual Xmas in Frisco as I’ve now been torn away from 

2 Comments on "Dead Air 98.3 FM"

  1. This fills me with glee to read this! It’s like you’re looking over my shoulder as I turn the dials and crank the levers. Thank you. And you’ll be happy to know I’m slowly replacing the tracks of lesser sound quality. Slowly but surely.

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